Najib charged, Mahathir wins 0 6130

COMMENT | Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Abdul Razak has finally been charged with corruption relating to the 1MDB financial scam.

He faces 25 charges, 21 of them relating to money laundering and the rest to abuse of power. The total amount involved is about US$630 million that went into his personal bank account in Kuala Lumpur.

On top of these charges, earlier this year, he was charged with receiving about US$10 million from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.

So there are two separate trials coming up early next year. Despite the seriousness of the cases, Najib is out on bail but it is my understanding that he and his wife are banned from travelling abroad.

Najib does not appear too bothered. His personal social media page is the most popular among all opposition parties in Malaysia, even eclipsing Malaysia’s opposition leader, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. But Najib should be worried.

The new attorney-general is not only incorruptible but more importantly, he is widely regarded as one of Malaysia’s best legal eagles. He has already charged one of Najib’s lawyers, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, with money laundering.

Najib has always maintained that the millions in his personal account were a donation from a prince in Saudi Arabia who wanted to show support to an “Islamic leader”. Nobody believes this story. In fact, the Saudis are very quiet about the donation despite Najib using their name.

Saudis do not give hundreds of millions with no strings attached. The US Department of Justice has shown in minute detail how the millions came from scam deals originating from 1MDB.

There is so much evidence that in the past two months, three books have been published on this affair, including one with the unmistakable title Billion Dollar Whale. If the authors are to be believed, Jho Low (photo), a businessperson from Penang, is behind one of the great financial scams of this century.

With Najib now formally charged, what are the implications for Malaysian politics?

To be honest, not much. It was widely expected that Najib would be charged. In fact, most Malaysians are waiting for his wife, Rosmah Mansor, to be charged as well. There is strong hatred for this power couple and the polity is offended by police reports that they found jewellery, designer bags and cash amounting to millions in their homes. Many Malaysians are waiting for the day when Najib and Rosmah go to prison.

Other than continued interest in his social media presence, Najib has, more or less, been completely abandoned by Umno, the party he led for nine years.

Not a single senior Umno leader has come out to show support for Najib since his arrest, nor have they accused the new government of political prosecution. Umno is trying to distance the party from Najib and 1MDB. For Umno, the sooner Najib goes to jail, the sooner the party can rebrand itself.

Politically, the one who will benefit most from Najib’s court cases will be Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Najib’s 1MDB corruption was a key part of Mahathir’s election platform and he has promised he will use all his powers to send the 1MDB perpetrators to jail.

Mahathir knows that his political legacy will be incomplete if Najib gets away from the 1MDB scam. Arresting Najib (and Rosmah) is not only popular but will distract the public from the painful reforms the government is contemplating.

Many are stalled because Umno supporters still fill the ranks of the civil service and statutory bodies. This has led to a rare public outburst from Mahathir, who openly accused the civil service of sabotaging his government’s political appointees.

The real story of Najib and 1MDB cannot be told until the principal of the 1MDB scam is caught – Jho Low, the young Malaysian financier whose place in Wall Street history is assured. Low is still on the run but that does not mean he is silent. Through his lawyers, he has created a website to pronounce his innocence, and he has used expensive London lawyers to threaten publishers who published any books linking him to the 1MDB scandal.

For Najib and his family, the recent charges are clear confirmation that he will not be able to get away legally. The government is expected to file more charges; the idea is Najib will eventually be found guilty on one of them.

His political career is dead and he will be lucky if he does not serve jail time. If and when he is found guilty, it will send a powerful signal of accountability to Malaysia and the region.

No previous head of government in Malaysia has ever been charged with corruption or gone to jail. – MalaysiaKini

This article first appeared in www.lowyinstitute.org. JAMES CHIN is the inaugural director of the Asia Institute, University of Tasmania.

 

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COVID-19 tidak halang Sarawak adakan PRN 0 5482

COVID-19 tidak halang Sarawak adakan PRN

SIBU: Pandemik COVID-19 tidak akan menghalang Sarawak daripada mengadakan Pilihan Raya Negeri ke-12 mengikut undang-undang, kata Timbalan Ketua Menteri Tan Sri James Masing hari ini.

Ketika ditanya mengenai kebimbangan dalam kalangan rakyat bahawa negeri ini akan menerima nasib yang sama seperti Sabah yang menyaksikan peningkatan kes COVID-19 selepas mengadakan pilihan raya negeri pada 26 September lalu, beliau berkata pilihan raya itu masih boleh diadakan dengan syarat prosedur operasi standard (SOP) dipatuhi dengan ketat.

“COVID-19 adalah satu faktor tetapi ada negara yang mengadakan pilihan raya pada tempoh pandemik ini. Antaranya Singapura, Korea Selatan dan baru-baru ini, New Zealand.

“Mereka mengadakan pilihan raya tanpa masalah dengan syarat SOP dipatuhi dengan ketat,” katanya.

Masing yang juga Menteri Infrastruktur dan Pembangunan Pelabuhan berkata demikian ketika ditemui pemberita selepas menyempurnakan upacara pecah tanah untuk Pakej A: Pembinaan dan Penyiapan Cadangan Jalan Sungai Bidut/Kampung Sebedil/Kampung Bungan Kecil di Bawang Assan hari ini.

“Kita tiada pilihan, jika kita tidak buat sekarang, selepas lima tahun (tempoh tamat) secara automatik Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) akan dibubarkan,” katanya dan menambah beliau tidak tahu apa-apa peruntukan yang membolehkan sesuatu pilihan raya ditangguhkan.

Beliau mengulangi bahawa sekiranya pilihan raya tidak diadakan, pada Jun tahun hadapan DUN akan dibubarkan dan Sarawak tidak akan mempunyai kerajaan.

“Keputusan untuk membubarkan Dewan Undangan Negeri untuk memberi laluan kepada pilihan raya terletak kepada ketua menteri,” tambahnya.

Mengenai calon Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) yang akan bertanding di Bawang Assan pada pilihan raya negeri nanti, Masing berkata ia bergantung kepada calon yang ditentukan oleh Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sarawak (SUPP) dan disokong Ketua Menteri Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg yang juga Pengerusi GPS.

Masing berkata siapa pun calon, pengundi harus memberi sokongan penuh terhadap perubahan yang akan dilakukan di kawasan itu selepas mereka dipinggirkan begitu lama dari segi pembangunan infrastruktur.

Untuk GPS, kerusi Bawang Assan secara tradisionalnya diperuntukkan kepada SUPP dan penyandangnya kini adalah Presiden Parti Sarawak Bersatu, Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh yang dilaporkan akan mempertahankan kerusi itu pada pilihan raya negeri akan datang.

Wong yang memenangi kerusi itu apabila bertanding buat pertama kali sebagai calon SUPP pada pilihan raya negeri 1996, tidak pernah kalah dan menang sekali lagi pada 2016 walaupun beliau meninggalkan SUPP kerana masalah dalaman dan membentuk Parti Rakyat Bersatu (UPP), sebuah parti mesra Barisan Nasional.

Sementara itu, mengenai projek jalan raya 21.7 kilometer (km) bernilai lebih RM104.5 juta, Masing berkata apabila siap pada November tahun hadapan, ia akan menghubungkan Kampung Tutus, Kampung Sebedil dan Kampung Bungan Kecil ke bandar Sibu.

Beliau berkata Pakej B projek itu akan membabitkan pembinaan jalan raya sepanjang 16 km dengan kos RM200 juta menghubungkan kawasan berkenaan dengan Jambatan Igan sejauh 1.38 km yang sedang dibina di Igan, Mukah bernilai RM285 juta. – BERNAMA – Berita Harian

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Beri peluang PM selesai krisis pandemik 0 5454

Beri peluang PM selesai krisis pandemik

PUTRAJAYA: Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin perlu diberi masa untuk menyelesaikan krisis pandemik COVID-19 yang ketika ini melanda negara.

Ahli Majlis Kerja Tertinggi UMNO, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, berkata selain krisis pandemik, negara ketika ini turut diuji dengan isu ekonomi, sekali gus menuntut semua pihak mengenepikan masalah kecil dan kembali kepada penyatuan serta perpaduan, selain muafakat dan kerjasama.

“Tak payahlah kita fikir pengganti buat masa ini…kita muafakat, bantu kerajaan. Bila COVID-19 reda, segera bubar Parlimen dan serah (mandat) pada rakyat.

“USA (Amerika Syarikat) lagi banyak kes COVID-19 dan mereka pun ada pilihan raya. Beri peluang PM (Perdana Menteri) selamatkan negara dan nyawa rakyat dulu. Saya percaya PM serah pada rakyat,” katanya melalui Twitter, hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian mengulas laporan sebuah portal mengenai kenyataan Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (PEJUANG) bahawa Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sebagai calon yang layak untuk menggantikan Muhyiddin.

Menerusi satu lagi ciapan, Annuar menegur kenyataan dibuat Pengerusi UMNO Perak, Datuk Saarani Mohamad, yang menuduh Pengerusi Parti Pribumi Bersatu (BERSATU) Perak, Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, menentang semangat setiakawan.

“Adalah baik sekiranya kita semua mengurangkan selar-menyelar secara terbuka kerana ia tak banyak membantu. Mari kita harmonikan situasi dan pandang ke hadapan. Sesiapa yang lebih ramai kawan akan menang ke atas mereka yang mencipta permusuhan,” katanya.

Sementara itu, ketika ditemui selepas program Operasi Sanitasi Awam, di Presint 4, di sini, hari ini, Annuar mengulangi kenyataan sama dengan menuntut semua pihak mengutamakan kerjasama dan penyatuan..

“Kepada parti politik termasuk parti saya sendiri dan kawan-kawan serta saya sendiri, saya fikir kita kena utamakan kerjasama dan penyatuan.

“Kalau kita dah stabil (krisis COVID-19) seperti itu dan kalau nampak keadaan (politik) masih tidak stabil kerana masing-masing pihak ada majoriti tipis, kita adakah pilihan raya umum.

“Kita bincang dengan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) mungkin adakan pilihan raya secara maya. Apabila berlaku ketidakstabilan akan ada pihak merasakan mereka boleh menjadi perdana menteri,” katanya. – Berita Harian

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